Chip Fun I

"... a historical and operational perspective on how these photographs are captured: laboratory engineers and technicians capture these images on a catch-as-catch-can basis... many of these photographs are years old and cannot be [easily] identified... the images were simply posted on a board and then [staff] went about the business at hand ..."
Integrated Circuit Engineering Corporation

These chip art images were made visible through lapping techniques, magnification and Polaroid capturing. Typically chips have a unique "signature" which we have come to recognize and expect to be logic, memory, gates, etc. However, these signatures are the designer's, the engineer's and in some cases a company logo.

They have left their mark in and for history. The chip collection is complemented with imagination which takes no space on a shelf, requires no conservation and cannot typically be exhibited.

NMAH Chip Art perhaps a modified Model T
NMAH Chip Art ca. 1983 Slide Trombone-AMD Ethernet Controller
ca. 1983 "Slide Trombone"
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD)
7990 Ethernet Controller
NMAH Chip Art ca. 1995-97 Dilbert-MIPS R10000 Microprocessor
ca. 1995-97 "Dilbert"
MIPS Technologies, Inc.
R10000 Microprocessor
NMAH Chip Art ca. 1994 Nikki-eng. Larry Johnson's former Chow dog-MIPS Technologies-R4000 Microprocessor
ca. 1994 "Nikki"
eng. Larry Johnson's former Chow dog
MIPS Technologies, Inc.
R4000 Microprocessor
NMAH Chip Art ca. 1994 Waldo-MIPS R4400 microprocessor
ca. 1994 "Waldo"
MIPS Technologies, Inc.
MIPS R4400 Microprocessor
NMAH Chip Art Brooktree Sailboat their Logo is on all Brooktree chips
ca. 1988 "Brooktree Sailboat"
NMAH Chip Art SEQUENT MOTHERBOARD-General Instrument-CAMELSAGA NMAH 1994.0760.018A
General Instrument
"CAMELSAGA" 1994.0760.018A
NMAH Chip Art perhaps a modified Cycle
NMAH Chip Art ca. 1993 Kermit w/guitar-Analog Devices-2175 Digital Signal Processor(DSP)
ca. 1993 "Guitar Playing Kermit"
Analog Devices
2175 Digital Signal Processor
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In 1996 after discovering the chip art within the Integrated Circuit Engineering Collection presented on our Chip Site we began searching our accumulated collection of exposed chips while collaborating with Michael W. Davidson, Ph.D. - Florida State University's Optical Microscopy at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory .

Several Smithsonian collected chips have been identified and professionally photographed by Dr. Davidson and his students over the years. This collaboration is an ongoing collection of high resolution photomicrographs (photographs taken through a microscope) featuring many of the interesting silicon creatures and other doodling scribbled onto integrated circuits by engineers when they were designing computer chip masks.

The majority of chip art photographed by Dr. Davidson remain part of the University's in-house collection. We wish to thank Dr. Davidson for his continuing efforts in assisting the Smithsonian with our own collection of hidden artwork we never knew existed.

(C) Silicon Zoo - Michael W. Davidson, FSU



National Museum of American History

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